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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, November 16, 2008

Edited by Sue George

Ballerini plans for 2009 Worlds with Basso, Cunego and Di Luca in mind

Italy's technical director, Franco Ballerini, is plans for the 2009 World Championships
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Italy's technical director, Franco Ballerini, is already planning for the 2009 World Championships despite just over a month's time since winning the 2008 edition. He has in mind top riders for the expected difficult parcours in Mendrisio, Switzerland on September 27.

"There is no doubt it will be a hard course. ... At the end of this month I will go and have a look," said Ballerini to La Gazzetta dello Sport. He admitted it was early to talk of names, but agreed that Ivan Basso, Damiano Cunego and Danilo Di Luca were names that came to mind considering what he already knew about the course.

Cunego finished second to Alessandro Ballan in this year's World Championships. It was the fourth World Championship gold medal [Mario Cipollini won in 2002; Paolo Bettini in 2006-7 -ed.] for Ballerini as the team's head. He also directed the Italians when Paolo Bettini won the Olympic Games gold medal in 2004 in Athens.

He does not believe that there will be rivalry between his team's members, including Basso and Cunego, who barely tolerate each other. He recalled his first gold medal in 2002 when Alessandro Petacchi worked for team leader Mario Cipollini.

"They were two leaders and yet the match worked. The same can happen with Cunego and Basso. ... They can slaughter each other all year long, with their respective teams, but in the national team you race for the same flag and objective."

Ballerini, who saw part of the course during the Tre Valli Varesine, will examine specific aspects on his visit to Mendrisio. He will have a look at where the organizers will place the finish and other small details.

The 2009 national team will consist of nine riders, and Ballerini will select them in the weeks before the event. (GB)

Riccò returns to training and appeals suspension

Riccardo Riccò, 25, is training again after his ejection from the Tour de France and subsequent two-year suspension
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Italian Riccardo Riccò, 25, is training again after his ejection from the Tour de France and subsequent two-year suspension. Italian authorities banned the cyclist from Formigine, positive for EPO-CERA, through October 2010, but he is staying focused on the bike.

"I thought I was losing [him], but things are going better. He is going out on his bike again and he also trains seven hours a day," said Riccò's dad, Rubino, to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Riccò was a favourite for the Tour de France thanks to his two stage wins and second overall in the Giro d'Italia. He delivered at the Tour de France with two stage victories, but was kicked out when the French anti-doping agency (AFLD) revealed he tested positive in a control it took on day four. The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) subsequently handed the rider known as "The Cobra" a two-year suspension – 18 months for using EPO and six months for consulting Doctor Carlo Santuccione.

Rubino Riccò revealed his son is serious about returning in-form. He explained that Riccò teaches spinning at a gym in Modena and passed on joining in the family's woodworking business.

"The other night he came to dinner in Formigine, there were some sweets and he wouldn't go near them. He said, 'I am on a diet.'"

Last week, with the guidance of his lawyer, Riccò presented his appeal of the suspension's duration to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). It should rule on the appeal in the coming weeks. (GB)

Albert calls Tour win impossible without doping

Niels Albert (Palmans Cras)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Belgian cyclo-cross star Niels Albert, 22, spoke about doping and the difficulty of winning the Tour de France to Flemish magazine Humo. He said he believed it was not possible to win the Tour de France without doping.

"To win the Tour you must use the right products," said Albert, who rides for Palmans Cras, in a quote as translated by the AFP.

"During the Tour, you roll for three weeks at 42km/h average speed with sometimes three or four passes. Is that human? The organizers want the cleanest race possible, but look at the 2009 edition's race profile! I do not think we can win a Grand Tour without the use of prohibited substances."

Albert highlighted an important difference between road racing and his favorite discipline of 'cross racing. "In our discipline, we go for one hour and then it's over," he said, although he acknowledged that the shorter duration didn't guarantee that cyclo-cross was completely clean.

After last Sunday's win in the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Pijnacker, Netherlands, Albert is sitting in first place in the overall World Cup standings.

Kloppenburg to new Norwegian team

Norway now boasts a new women's UCI trade team on the road for 2009. Team Hitec Products will feature 13 women, with half from Norway and half from other nations.

Margriet Kloppenburg is one of the women on the roster. "I'm glad I can race for this team," she said to "After a somewhat disappointing season in 2008, I hope the upcoming season will come with good results."

The 20 year-old Dutch woman will be naturalized as a Danish citizen early in 2009. "This development is very good for the Scandinavian women's cycling. I hope that this level of racing will increase throughout Scandinavia."

The squad has already signed six racers, including 48-year-old Bjørg Eva Jensen, a former world and Olympic Games speedskating champion.

Jelajah Malaysia postponed

The 2009 edition of the Jelajah Malaysia, scheduled for January 11-18 as a 2.2 category event according to the UCI's Asia calendar, has been postponed. The New Straits Times cited difficulty in securing sponsorship and indicated that the race may be rescheduled for April pending approval from the UCI.

The race was to run over a longer route over eight stages. In contrast, the 2008 event was run in seven stages from January 7 - 13.

Perkins finds new motivation for troubled career

Aussie Shane Perkins at the 2008 UCI Track World Championships in Manchester
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)
Shane Perkins, one of the Australians who will line up for the UCI Track World Cup in Melbourne, is looking at the event on November 20-22, as another second chance for his young career. Six weeks ago, Perkins became a father, and he's looking to make up for past mistakes and move beyond his troubled, past racing career.

Just 21-years-old now, Perkins became the third-youngest winner of a medal (bronze) at the Commonwealth Games at age 19; however, in the two years since then, he was cut from both the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS). Two alcohol-related incidents saw him punished with a ban that took him out of the competition loop in the run-up to the Olympic Games. Perkins was not selected to represent Australia in the Olympic Games in 2008.

"I concede that I was drunk and I was at a nightclub at three in the morning and just that in itself, I know now, is pointless," he said to about the incident that resulted in a ban earlier this season. "It was an argument with a guy who I was actually friends with, and then it got blown out of proportion."

Perkins was banned for three months by Cycling Australia, and VIS suspended his scholarship for six months – later reducing it to four months after Perkins agreed to do community service work with children.

The mother of Perkins' child, fiancée Kristine, is the sister of Australian sprint star Ryan Bayley who underwent a public falling out with Perkins earlier this year. Proving that people can change, Perkins characterized his improved relationship with his brother-in-law and fellow competitor as "neutral".

"I've made some mistakes, and I can't just stand here and say, 'Geez, I'm sorry'. The only way I can give something back is by giving them results," said Perkins of his new outlook.

Coming off the Oceania Track Championships in Adelaide this weekend with a win in the team sprint (with Daniel Ellis and Scott Sunderland) and the keirin and a second place in the individual sprint, Perkins looks poised for success going into the Melbourne World Cup. He his performances will help him make the Australian team selection for the UCI Track World Championships in Poland in March.

Team Knauf announces partnership and complete roster

Team Knauf has found a sponsor to help with preparing its athletes for competition. The team, directed by Giuseppe Martinelli and Guido Bontempi, will draw upon the experience of Endurancenter to help train and test its athletes.

"I am proud to announce this collaboration," said Daniele Zammicheli, Director of Endurancenter. "From cycling, we have learned a lot, and now we can offer our experience. Martinelli gives us the opportunity to do so with a professional team. We are excited to enter in a project that offers us the opportunity to professionalize an important, but often overlooked aspect of cycling, athletic preparation."

The team also announced its complete roster of riders: Simon Clarke (Australia); Vasil Kiryienka, Andrei Kunitski, Branislau Samoilau (Bielorussia); Rafael Infantino Abreu (Colombia); Robert Kiserlovski, Matija Kvasina (Croatia); Santo Anzà, Leonardo Bertagnolli, Simone Cadamuro, Matteo Carrara, Giuseppe De Maria, Fausto Fognini, Massimo Gabbrielleschi, Vincenzo Garofalo, Edoardo Girardi, Eddy Ratti, Francesco Rivera, Mirko Selvaggi (Italy); Michal Golas (Poland); Grega Bole (Slovenia); Igor Astarloa (Spain)

Tamar Valley Challenge to support North Tasmanian cycling

The inaugural Tamar Valley Challenge Ride will be held on December 21 as a prelude to the Launceston Cycling Classic. The race will cater to cyclists ranging from social riders to aspiring Tour de France racers and is promoting awareness of the sport of cycling to encourage healthy lifestyles and road-cycling-safety. Funds raised will support the sport's continued development in Northern Tasmania, Australia.

"The ride is a great initiative to get more people involved with the sport and the funds raised will go towards raising our standard of competition at Olympic level," said Matthew Gilmore, Tasmanian Institute of Sport (TIS) head coach.

The 120km course will start and finish at Windsor Park, Riverside and travel North along Rosevears Dr. to Exeter, Gravelly Beach, along Foreshore road, under the Batman Bridge to Kayena, and then onwards to Beaconsfield, Beauty Point and returning along the West Tamar Highway . There will also be shorter 40 and 80 km courses for the less adventurous. A concluding celebration will follow at the Launceston Football clubrooms at Windsor Park.

For more information and to register for the event, which is being organized by the Launceston City Cycling Club in conjunction with the Launceston Cycling Class committee, visit

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2008)